CDB Aviation Enters Inaugural Sustainability-Linked Loan at $625MM

CDB Aviation, a wholly-owned Irish subsidiary of China Development Bank Financial Leasing, entered into an inaugural sustainability-linked loan anchored with a $625 million syndicated term loan facility.

“This innovative facility marks a landmark transaction for the aviation finance space,” Jie Chen, CEO of CDB Aviation, said. “We’re thrilled to have leveraged our comprehensive sustainability strategy, with a particular focus on the activities across the environmental and social aspects of our operations, to secure this first major sustainability-linked loan syndicated facility among aircraft lessors.”

The sustainability-linked loan parameters of the facility are contingent on the satisfaction of sustainability performance targets, based on CDB Aviation’s three key performance indicators (KPIs), including two environmental and one social KPIs related to:

  • Reducing the carbon intensity of CDB Aviation’s fleet
  • Increasing the share of new generation aircraft in the lessor’s fleet, pursuing its target to reach 60% of new generation aircraft (by number of aircraft) by the end of 2025
  • Increasing the level of diversity, equity, and inclusion related training for its workforce

Moody’s Investors provided the second party opinion as to the appropriateness of the KPIs and sustainability performance targets, confirming the conformity of the facility with the Sustainability Linked Loan Principles with a best-in-class SQS2 rating.

The facility was financed by a group of MLA banks, including Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, BNP Paribas, The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, Natixis Corporate & Investment Banking, China Minsheng Banking, China Guangfa Bank and China Construction Bank Corporation.

Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank acted as sole sustainability agent, as well as lead sustainability structuring advisor jointly with BNP Paribas and the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation. Natixis acted as sustainability structuring bank. Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank acted as agent of the facility. Milbank acted as counsel to CDB Aviation, while Allen & Overy acted as counsel to the lenders. JunHe and Matheson acted as PRC and Irish counsel, respectively.

“Delivering on our platform’s ESG vision and responsibilities, this facility advances the sustainability of our business and enhances our ability to contribute to progress in reaching the industry’s net-zero target,” Chen said. “We’re committed to being a leader on ESG matters and efforts, managing our impact as a business and maximizing our influence to help drive positive change in the aircraft leasing community.”

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